Addressing Pigeonholing, Labeling and Using DiSC® to Excuse Bad Behavior

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The Everything DiSC Model is very useful for improving communication, dealing with conflict, improving emotional intelligence and developing an appreciation for the value of differing styles and perspectives. However, as with many tools of this type it can be misused. Specifically, workshop participants sometimes use the model to pigeonhole or label participants with another style or to excuse their own bad behavior.

As facilitators, it is our responsibility to be aware of and address these behaviors when they occur. We need to help participants understand that a certain approach or the characteristics associated with a given style work better with some individuals and in some situations while another approach/style will work better with other people/situations. No style is inherently better than another style. What is going to work best depends on the situation.

Here are some approaches that I have found to be helpful when facilitating Everything DiSC sessions.

Emphasize early and often that there are no good or bad styles; all styles have strengths and all styles have weaknesses. 

 

Call it out when you see it.

 

  • Refer people back to the Cornerstone Principals (typically on page 2 of the Everything DiSC profiles)
  • Have a phrase you are comfortable with that you can use if these behaviors occur. I use, “Remember there are no good or bad styles. All styles have strengths and as much as some of us hate to admit it, all styles have weaknesses.” 
  • If someone makes a judging comment and states it as fact, reiterate that this is their perspective by saying something like, “From your perspective the x style tends to [repeat the judging comment].”
  • Keep people focused on the value that other styles bring. For example, if you are discussing the characteristics and preferences of a style, ask people with the other styles what the value the individuals with the style being discussed brings to the team or the workplace.
  • When someone makes a judging comment about another style ask about a weakness of their own style and how someone from the other style might be helpful in neutralizing that weakness. For example, if someone with an i style says that people with the C style are negative and always poke holes in ideas, ask the i style individual if they have ever moved forward too quickly with an idea that didn’t work out well because they didn’t think through it well enough? If they are honest, they will say yes. Then you can ask how someone with a C style might have been valuable in this situation.

As you talk about the styles, use the words “tendencies” and “preferences” (i.e. the D style generally has a preference for quick decisions.” Or a “tendency of someone with the S style is to get input from a lot of different people.

I would love to hear (and share) additional ideas that have worked for you.

POSTED ON: Dealing with Conflict, Interpersonal Communication

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